Saturday, December 6

My favorite holiday is getting close!!

Christmas is my favorite holiday!! And I love all the excitement leading up to it! We are in full swing Christmas mode, here :) 
We helped Nani and papa find their perfect tree!we painted some pottery for Christmas presents! (I'm feeling incredibly proud of myself this year- I'm so on the ball...only a few presents left to get...might not manage to get Christmas cards out in time, but at least most people will get presents) :)
We made it to see Santa! Thankfully he comes in a line truck and makes a nice little stop at public service during their company Christmas party :)
Elli really loved Santa the best! She even put on her Santa pj's for the occasion! (And insisted that Macy wear hers, too) :) he may have broke her heart and trust when she asked for a Minnie Mouse doll and he gave her a bag of stuff that didn't include a Minnie Mouse doll! 
I think Macy liked Santa ok, but when all the kids ran to give him a hug as he left Macy just glared at him and refused to get any closer!
Nothing says Christmas like three kids perched atop an incredibly well decorated line truck :) 
Today we were able to partake in one of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions- the ladies Christmas tea at my parents church! We picked up my grandma on the way and it was a super fun time for all of us girls!! I just love this lady!! 

Sunday, November 30

Happy birthday!!

My little twinnies turned 3 and had a super fun time of it!! They wanted to help make their own we all worked together on special birthday waffles :)
Taking a little bit of time out to snuggle :)
Then we quick sang happy birthday before taking hailey to school! I think they liked it!
After dropping off hailey they asked for donuts, so off we went for donuts :) because apparently you get whatever you want on your birthday :)
After daddy got home we went to everyone 's favorite place- Buffalo Wild Wings! Yes, I do think their dad has brainwashed them all! But, the twins were super happy to get to hear the whole restaurant clap for their birthday! (At least Macy was- elli was a bit scared of it all) 
Then on thanksgiving we had our family over and got to have Minnie Mouse and Dora cookies to celebrate! Macy was mostly excited because she thought the Macy's thanksgiving day parade was actually her parade! 
I think my littlest girls enjoyed turning 3!! 

Monday, November 24

Two big 3 year olds!

These girls are is that possible???!! Where did the time go??
 I feel like it was just yesterday that we were finishing up our thanksgiving dinner of peanut butter and jelly, enjoying our last day as a family of 4 and looking to our future with a bit of fear and trembling.
And, now, here we are a happy family of 6- dealing with newborn twins is a distant memory, our hospital stays are (hopefully) behind us, life has taken on a bit of a routine. we are getting into the rhythm of 4 kids- in fact some days it is downright easy...but, we still live on peanut butter and jelly and we still look to the future with fear and trembling...who wouldn't with 4 teenagers to come. :) 
3 years ago Korey and I were on our way to the hospital and I was in for the longest, but best labor of my life! I still can't really believe I made it to 37 weeks carrying these little buggers. I can't believe I was able to deliver naturally without any complications. It was all God. He just gifted me again and again with these two! In more ways than I could ever count. I know that Korey still considers the day we brought these two home from the hospital the proudest day of his life...I, on the other hand, will never forget the day I got home with two babies and for the first time in my life had to think about how I was going to carry two carseats into the house at the same time- or make the choice of who to take first and who to come back for. (Korey had stopped to get us dinner and pick up a breast pump for me) I will never forget the amount of tears that I shed over these two precious babies or how much God used them in my life to shape and grow me. I think I love them so dearly because I know how much they cost and would do it all again in a heartbeat. On the day I found out I was carrying twins my whole world changed. I cried- like all out bawled ugly tears in my doctor's office. The nurse gave me a popsicle and a tissue and was worried I wouldn't make it home safely. I lived in a fog for days, after that. Even just the thought of caring for two babies at one time seemed more than I could handle. But...after months of "house arrest" and weeks of bedrest I knew God wasn't gonna leave me stranded. Today, I can say that I'm not the same girl that sat in her doctor's office and cried over weaning her tiny baby so she could help her twins grow. I'm not the same girl who lamented the fact that she'd go to Target without make up or showering. Today, the day my twins turn 3, I'm stronger, I'm tougher, I'm older, I'm wearier, I'm more broken, I'm changed. And for that, I'll never be able to thank God enough. God met me in the weariest, most broken hours. It was there- in the days of little to no sleep- that God reached down, pulled me to Himself and helped me carry on. I've never needed God like I did when I had two newborns, a 14 month old and a 2 year old to care for. And, I love Him all the more because He was there when I needed Him. He was there when no one else could be and I know- 100% that I am alive and well- still smiling, hugging, loving and caring for my 4 precious kiddos because of the grace that God showered upon me.

There's just something special about these little self avowed "best friends"! They love each other so much- but will fight each other pretty much to the death for something that's theirs! We hear "I have to go potty" about 640 times a day. They love to eat lunch at school with hailey, but eating is only secondary- people watching and giggling is the real reason we all love to go...that and fighting over who gets to sit by hailey. Pink is still Macy's color and purple is elli's. I love that their colors are still theirs! 

Happy birthday my sweet baby girls!! 

Friday, November 14

A happy ending!

Sometimes a picture just can't do a day justice! These beautiful girls holding their precious operation Christmas child shoe boxes, all packed and labeled seems so sweet and so innocent...but, what it really is- a sweet happy ending to a fairly rough day! Armed with our picture lists and pencils all 5 of us hit up Target to fill our shoeboxes. It had already been a bit of a long day...poor Jack was struggling with the stomach flu and Hailey had a long day of school in already. But, since we aren't ones to let life hold us back (aka...too dumb to just change our plans) we persevered! We met the sweetest lady who had 3 children who were all grown and gone, but who had actually been on the ground helping to deliver the shoeboxes and was able encourage us all and reduce this momma to tears with her beautiful encouragement that these days are truly encouragement that I would need to cling to just a few hours later! After the craziness of buying our presents we headed off to McDonalds to play and eat. Jack, who had seemed to be doing much better, took a turn for the worse and ended up throwing up at McDonalds. And, as any mom knows- the minute throw up is added to the mix you know your day is going to take a turn for the worse! We hurriedly bundled the rest of the kids up and packed the remains of their food for them to eat in the car...Since we hadn't had a chance to play in the play place yet I had some not so happy little girls. Then, the unthinkable happened- Hailey dropped her hamburger in the parking lot! As we pulled away most of the kids were in tears and this momma was just ready to be done with her day. Thankfully, it was a 20 minute drive home and that gave each of us a chance to get our emotions under control. :)
As the day ended it didn't really get a ton better...sure we smiled nicely for a picture, after we threw huge fits and fought over who got to put the purple unicorn in their box and who got the pink ponies vs. the orange ones and poor Jack threw up one more time. As I finally tucked them into bed, placed my exhausted little self on the couch and had a good little cry all I could think was "I'm not even sure it was worth it". But, looking back at the picture I can remind myself that it was- it was worth it! all the tears, all the pain of cleaning up vomit, all the little kiddie fits and the exhausted momma. It was all worth it! Because, hopefully my kiddos aren't just buying gifts for little kiddos across the ocean...maybe, just maybe they are learning a little bit about thinking of others. maybe they are teaching their mommy a bit of patience and a bit about what's important in life. maybe it's not just about packing shoe boxes. maybe its about something more. And maybe that something more makes it all worthwhile :)

Monday, November 10

be still my heart...

It comes as no surprise to anyone else that I just adore these two cuties...but, sometimes I'm just overcome with emotion when I think about how big they've gotten; how far they've come and just what a testament to God's faithfulness these two have been in my life!!
Tomorrow marks the 3 year anniversary of the day these girls tried to enter the world...a day I will never forget. a day etched in my mind in complete detail. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God worked a miracle that day and kept my babies cooking a bit longer. I also know that at the time it seemed like a death sentence to be stuck pregnant with them any longer. :) I can't believe my babies are going to be 3 soon...and that that day is a distant memory!
 I love these two little best friends so much! I'm so thankful that God blessed me with them! I think I finally understand, now, why all the parents of twins willingly have more kids- it gets so much better the closer they get to 3!! I love spending time with these two! they make me laugh and giggle so much. They're so full of life and spunk, it's just incredible. Most of all, when I think about Macy and Elli-  I'm so thankful that God gave me two kids to split this much personality between...I shudder to think of the poor soul strapped with this much personality alone!
I love you, my sweet little matching princesses. I know you sweet girls will never remember the "day you almost came" and I hope and pray that you never have to experience it...but, I know that that day is one of the most poignant days in my memory bank and I will never, ever forget how scared I was and how I prayed that God would just spare you from being born early! I'll never forget the day spent in labor, the scary contractions, the frantic phone call to your Nani and Sheila- begging for a ride to the hospital. I'll never forget how fast your daddy drove home from up north and how he spent the whole night sitting by my bed in his work clothes. I'll never forget how God orchestrated the doctor to be in town and willing to stop by and check on me "quick" and then figure out a nice little concoction of drugs to stop labor. I'll never forget how relived I was when I finally felt my body relax and the contractions slow down. I'll never forget how the thankful tears flowed and how your daddy and I praised God in that hospital room. I'll never forget...and I hope that you won't ever forget how much your mommy loves you, your daddy loves you, but most importantly how much God loves you!

Wednesday, October 1

parenting fails...and wins

Lately I've been really asking God to take away my pride. To just really break me and make me more like him....because, you see, I've been realizing that I'm kind of an "angry mom"! I wouldn't say I spend  my whole day screaming and yelling, but I would  say that I've definitely been more stressed, on edge, and generally a lot easier to get riled up since school started. A lot of that has to do with my pride.

I hate to be thought of as "that mom" know the one-

*who shows up to drop off her kid in her pj's- without makeup
*whose kid is always late
*whose kid doesn't have her teeth brushed
*whose kid didn't get her homework done
*who forgot the lunch money or the lunch box or the permission slip...or even the dentist appointment
*whose kid is mismatched or dressed too cold or too hot
*whose kid (or kids) throws a few (or a lot) fits on the floor of the school
*who can't seem to control any of the tiny little people that swarm all over her feet.

(yes! all of these things have happened to me in the past month that school has been in session)

I just hate being "that mom"!
Because in my feeble little mind that mom is a failure.
she can't keep it all together
she can't plan ahead
she is terribly unorganized
she is lazy
she is a bad parent

I never want to be labeled as any of I work and I try and I stress and I plan...and when those carefully laid plans, those amazing schedules, the massive amount of work all crumbles I get irritated. I get stressed and I tend to get mad at the people closest to me. Blaming them for making it all fall apart.

It's sad really. In my pursuit to be thought of and seen as a better more together mom- I fail in the one thing that's the most important-  showing Jesus to the 4 little people who live with me and the 1 big person I'm married to. It's like I'm stressing and striving and working to earn approval, but missing out on the fact that I'm already loved, cherished, blessed, and incredibly special to the God of the Universe! What more could I ask for? What more could any of us want than that?? Why does it matter what mere mortals think of us, when God, the creator of the Universe already loved me and cared for me enough to send His one and only son to die for me??

so, that's why I've been praying. I've been begging God to get rid of that in me. I don't want to be the perfect mom- I just want to be more like Jesus. Last time I checked Jesus cared more about people than schedules. He took time out to hold little ones on His lap and He stopped an entire crowd of busy people to care about one woman who had been healed. Jesus had time for people and I don't want to become so busy that I don't!

And...this morning...this morning was my biggest win yet!!

Someone couldn't find the socks she wanted...meltdown #1
Someone couldn't get her shoes on right...meltdown #2
Someone wanted the hat the other someone was wearing...meltdown #3
Someone wanted to go check his deer camera before we left for school...meltdown #4
Someone wanted to sit in the carseat her sister was sitting in...meltdown #5
Someone didn't want to stay at school, but wanted to go home with mommy...meltdown #6

yes, we were late to school
no, we didn't all have our faces washed or hair brushed
yes, I snuck chocolate for breakfast when no one was looking
no, Hailey didn't get her teeth brushed
yes, she wore pink cowboy boots with tights and shorts
yes, the dog peed on the floor while we were gone
yes, the dog ate lunch off the counter while my back was turned

It literally was "one of those days"

This momma can smile and carry on because me and Jesus kept it together this morning! There were no tears from this momma. There was no yelling. There was a lot of whispered prayers for patience. There were a few begs for a mouth that stays shut and a smile that is genuine. And we pulled through. We all survived. We laughed. We tickled each other. We even smiled as we walked into school late. We all thrived and that's way more important than all the parenting wins in the world!!  :) (or maybe that is one of my biggest parenting wins yet??) :)

Monday, September 29

The best day ever??

If you ask jack this was definitely the that!! He got to go duck hunting with his daddy on Saturday and I'm fairly certain both of them had tge time of their lives! The Mosquitos were terrible. It was muddy and hot. They only got 3 ducks. But apparently none of that was enough of a deterrent- they both came back smiling and as happy as can be! 

Wednesday, September 24

My little "pack"

These three are anything but boring! they are hilarious and adventurous...naughty and fearless...incredibly fun and extremely overwhelming all at the same time! It seems that when they are without their fearless leader they tend to act like a wild little pack of hyenas. Everyone running and doing their own thing- no one really organizing or leading them. I suppose that would be my job, but hailey was so good at it that it's hard for me to remember I should be doing that!! And before I know it they are just running wild and wreaking havoc upon our house!! I'm just hoping that the house survives and is still standing by the time they grow up :)

Without their big sister around my 3 littlest ones have become closer and better friends!! It's pretty cute (most of the time) to see their little personalities come out in different ways! I think the funniest part is that no matter where we go someone asks if they are triplets. Makes me laugh every single time. Poor jack is just such a small little guy!!

Our highlight of the week is getting to go eat lunch with hailey! She asks us to come every week and it's adorable to see the little three just fit into the school so well! They go potty with the kids; wash hands with them; play on the playground and just naturally fall into line- just like all the other kids! 

I think my favorite part about just having the little "pack" around is that they're starting to develop their own little personalities and desire to be "themselves". Macy is still a bit more mellow than the other 4, but once she sets her mind to something there is no dissuading her! She was the oldest of all my kids when she finally was potty trained, but by fare the easiest one to potty train. One day she just up and decided to go potty on the toilet and hasn't had an accident since! Elli is our crazy wild child. She has no time for anything that might seem normal or have rules to it. She just blazes her own trail and does whatever she wants- she's a true free spirit and I love it. She makes me laugh and is by far the goofiest of any of our kids...even though she is the most shy. Jack is just  Jack. He's so much like Korey and so much like me. He loves to play by himself, as long as he's by someone, and wants so badly to be an army guy when he grows up. He's continually looking for a new hunting spot, wherever we go, and probably misses his big sister more than any of us!
I love that my little 3 love to be together, but I'm just incredibly excited that they are becoming a bit more independent and loving the individual attention. Yesterday I took just Macy to pick up hailey -she was pretty excited and kept saying "I so special today, momma" :)

We did storytime today at the library and I couldn't believe how cute they were or how well they listened!! Elli had no interest in anything but sitting on my lap and Macy loved it all!! She even did the hand motions to the songs! Jack answered all the questions and was generally pretty outgoing! I loved it!! It was the first time I've seen any of them in a situation like that. I was so proud of my little Macy for acting so grown up. (that's her between Jack and her sweet little friend, Taylor)
I think we all might be fitting into our new routine without our biggest girl better and better each day!!

Sunday, September 14

A time of change...

It seems like the fall is always a time of big changes...the changing of weather & the leaves just sort of seem like the outward, most obvious show of what seems to be taking place in our little home and in my heart. I've been a bit absent on here because sometimes change is hard. There's usually the dying off of something and that's not always painless or easy. This year it's been particularly hard to get back on the swing of things; to transition back to school and rules and wake up times. Summer was so beautiful and so fun. Just a blessed time of running and freedom for all of us. Korey barely worked any overtime, so it was sweet to have him home. But, like all beautiful mountaintop experiences, it's a bit hard to leave that and go back. Jackson turned 4. Hailey started kindergarten (all day. every day). Korey started working long days and we were hit with a few overnight storms. It was a big fat dose of reality- all at once.
Honestly, I struggled. I'm still struggling a bit. I miss my big girl. She adds such joy, laughter and excitement to our house. There's a noticeable difference without our precious ring leader to guide us all. 
My little boy is becoming more and more like his daddy- which I LOVE, but it makes me miss the sweet little baby boy more and more. 
And, It's hard to be a mom doing it alone for days at a time. It's hard not to feel lonely- not to mention just plain tired, when your best friend is gone.
But, I'm so thankful that along with the hardness of change there is a beauty to be found in the sweet reminder of new things taking place of the old. Just how the fall comes to make way for winter and spring- we have to welcome in change to reap the sweet rewards that it brings.
 We started up our Wednesday night ministries at church and I get to teach the kindergarten class. I'm beyond excited to see my girl in action, to learn verses with her and to guide her and her sweet friends in their relationships with Jesus. 
My big boy has been really stepping up and taking charge of his little sisters. It's been fun to watch the 3 of them bond...we've been calling them our pack of hyenas :) and they are pretty much a tight little pack. I love seeing that. 
The twins have been getting cuter and cuter the older and more verbal they get. Today they were sitting by each other on the floor and Macy said "I love you" to elli, to which she responded "I love you. I really do" and put her arm on her shoulder. It was just a sweet moment that does a mommy's heart good to witness!
And...probably the biggest blessing of all has been that I set up my sewing machine again. I haven't sewn in years and it just felt good to get it out and make a little burp cloth and hem up some pants (it's truly the little things that make me happy) :) 
I'm looking forward to the rest of this fall and some of the fun changes that will be in store for us...I guess change can be exciting and fun! 

Wednesday, August 13

bunny the butterfly

A few weeks ago Hailey found a very big and beautiful caterpillar and took it home and put it in a jar...not many animals that get put in jars survive our house, but apparently this caterpillar was different. Against all odds it created the most beautiful green sparkly chrysalis (no joke, I thought hailey had put sparkles on it). It soon got named "bunny" and every single day was checked on to make sure it hadn't become a butterfly overnight! Well, last night I noticed that "bunny" had emerged from the chrysalis and was starting to flap her wings. And this morning it was time to let bunny go. It was time to let her spread her wings and fly away.
Hailey was the proudest little butterfly mom. She carried it outside, she rescued it from the kitties and she gently tucked it up into a lilac bush, then she sat down to watch and wait for it to fly away. Well...bunny either needed more time, or more sunshine or the audience wasn't to her liking, because she never did more than flap her wings. Regardless of how much Hailey coaxed and cheered and encouraged her that butterfly had no intention of leaving her safe haven and we had to leave for swimming lessons. As soon as we got home all the kids piled out of the car to check on bunny in the bush, only to find it empty and bunny nowhere to be found. Hailey immediately started jumping up and down and cheering for her little one who had learned to fly, but the cheers soon turned to tears as she realized that bunny wasn't going to come back and live in the jar on her dresser anymore.
It made me think of being a mommy...
yesterday Jack learned how to ride a 2 wheeler. I was so proud of him. I was jumping up and down and cheering. But, as I watched him ride down the driveway I had to fight back the tears, because my little boy learned how to ride on his own, but he rode away from me and it reminded me that there's going to come a day when he rides off for good. A day when he doesn't stop and turn around and wait for me to cheer him on before going again.
In the bible study I'm doing right now, Lysa shared the verse
"Teach us to number our days carefully, so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts." (Ps.90:12)
and it keeps coming back to my mind. There's only so much time I get with my kiddos and I want to take care to not squander those days and hours that I get.
Today we are playing with caterpillars and butterflies and learning to ride 2 wheelers and use the potty. But, in the blink of an eye these days are going to be gone. As hard as they are. As exhausted as I get. As overwhelming as the demands of 4 little ones can be...I want to look at my days with the wisdom of a woman who knows it will come to an end and cherishes the little moments (and the big ones) for just that reason.
Already I'm having to "look forward" to Hailey starting kindergarten. As excited for her as I am and as much as we are all looking forward to the welcome "relief" from the busyness of the summer that the fall brings- it's hard to imagine my baby being gone all day every day and only getting the weekends to play and just "be" together. It's scary to surrender your baby to God's care and let her walk into the big ugly world. I know we don't have control or "care" of our children, anyways, and that none of us can even pretend that we can protect our children. But, it seems so much easier to keep them safe when they're within arms length. 
I feel much like Hailey did about excited and proud and like I wanna just cheer her on for being so big and grown up and "flying away" like such a big girl, but at the same time I want to just let the tears flow at the thought of my baby spending her day without me.
Ahhh...being a mommy is so tough and so contradictory.

Friday, August 1

Happy twins day!

The littlest girls in our house have been in "super cute" mode lately. I find myself more and more in awe of them. They have such a cool and unique relationship. They are so close- best friends, in fact. But, at the same time they will fight and wrestle like no girls I've ever seen!
In the last few weeks they have started talking in sentences and it's been absolutely precious to hear them yell, "Macy where are you?" Or "elli- belle, come here"! Or say, "I love you, elli- belle" 
I would never have said I wanted twins...I really never did. I always thought they'd be a bit overwhelming :) but, now that I'm a mommy to these two I'd wish twins on anyone! They're just so much fun! And, if the amount of cuteness and fun wasn't enough reason to love these two...their bond and relationship is truly awe inspiring! They love to hold hands, give random hugs and fight with one another- sometimes all at the same time :) I just love how close they there's really no "personal space" when it comes to them. I love how they hit and scream at one another one minute and are rollIng on the floor laughing the next. They share food and cups. They share beds and pillows. They share clothes and toothbrushes...even nuks :) 
I truly believe that God blessed my life when He made me the mommy to these two girlies. I'm so thankful I'm not the woman I was before I had them...although I do miss my sanity, my brain, and my pre-twin body a bit...I really don't miss much else!
 I love how these girls taught me to slow down, to savor life, to laugh and giggle with abandon, to throw caution to the wind and just "jump" feet first at whatever life has to throw at me. These two are awesome like that. They have absolutely no fear...not even when they should! I caught them taking turns jumping off of the top bunk and onto the one below about a week ago and this morning I caught them jumping off of the tire swing while the other one pushed it! (at least I know I have a heart that is working well, because there's not much that these two haven't tried  and there have been more times than I can count that my heart has lept into my throat and I've said the "God protect them" prayer as I ran)
I pray that as my little twinnies grow that they will always forgive and laugh as quickly; that they will remain best friends and loose the worst enemy status. I pray that they will continue to bring about growth and change in me (I'm pretty certain that ones a given) :) and that they will draw close to the one who promises to stick closer than even a twin sister- Jesus!
Elli has been a bit scared the last few days and it's been so precious to tuck them into bed and say "goodnight. mommy loves you. daddy loves you. Hailey loves you. Jack loves, but most of all- who loves you??" and to hear them simultaneously yell as loud as they can "Jesus loves you" :) It melts my heart and I pray that someday it won't just be repeated words, but it will be words that spring from a deep knowledge of the soul that Jesus does truly love them both!